Should I use my Radial Arm saw or my Table Saw to cut a 2 x4 length wise

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I have 2 nice saws and have to cut a 2x4 in half length wise. My son approached the Table Saw, and I suggested the Radial Arm saw. My Radial Arm saw is a compound Rockwell saw, that allows me to move the lower arm into a position so I can push the 2 x 4 from the side that has the splitter. My son likes to do it on the Table Saw right along the fence. To be honest, could I get a feeling what you guys do? Please don't laugh about this dumb question, but I don't like to argue or tell my son what to do, and I'm too old to remember which way to do it....Thank you in advance........PM
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pete wrote:

I like the fact that most of the blade on a table saw is below the table.
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pete wrote:

I use the radial myself because it's in a long table (12-ft) so have good support.
Either works, but need a good outfeed table or other support on the tablesaw.
Use whichever has the proper support or make it for whichever you're most comfortable with.
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wrote:

dpb gave you the right answer. Do it whichever way gives the workpiece the most stability and support.
I prefer using a table saw with an adequate outfeed table, but that's just what I'm used to. A lot of folks cringe at the thought of ripping with a RA, but a RA with a table that stabilizes the work is much better than trying to use a TS without an outfeed table of with roller stand supports that, IME, are far too prone to tipping or applying side loads to the work (if the rollers are the least bit canted to one side or the other).
Tom Veatch Wichita, KS USA
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I have both a radial arm saw and a table saw. Ripping a 2x4 lengthwise is a natural job for a tablesaw. However, whichever saw you do use, keep in mind that the 2x4 may be wet inside and may not be exactly straight which could cause problems when cutting. If it is wet inside it will want to either spread or contract together causing the wood to bind on the side of the blade. Also wet wood can be a problem with a "good" blade that has too many teeth. When I have to cut such wood I use an old, but still sharp, carbide blade with a wide kerf, which has only 8 teeth on a 10 inch blade. The blade doesn't bind much and the wide spaced teeth clear out the wet sticky sawdust instead of heating up.
"Tom Veatch" wrote in message

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I love all the answers, and at least I know that he could use the TS as well as the RAS. and yes we have super support, because I believe in the support issue very strongly. Maybe more answers will come, but I'm sure there is probably no person that would only use one saw over the other. The answers so far just make too much sense.....Thanks again you nice folks here for helping me with some good answers.....I almost forgot Tom mentioned using a sharp but otherwise older sawblade with only 8 or 10 teeth. It really made a lot of sense to me, but I'm again shocked for never considering that angle. I always use the sawblade with the highest amount of teeth. I thought this would always makes sense. Tom's remark however makes sense now, and I will never forget it, well I hope not.....what a great discussion, I'm really glad I wrote....Pete
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pete wrote: ...

It's not the number so much as the type. For ripping you really want a rip tooth, not a cross or combination.
Framing material is so soft it really doesn't matter a whole lot other than there is some advantage in coarser w/ wet material but a very fine tooth crosscut would definitely be a poor choice.
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wrote:

Well, I guess I'm not familiar with exactly what a "compound Rockwell saw" but if it's truly a radial arm saw, and thus very similar in design and use to my Craftsman radial arm saw, then you absolutely do not want to push the 2x4 from the side that has the splitter. In fact, I don't even see how you could do it the way you describe. The blade has to make a kerf for the splitter to go in.
When ripping with a radial arm saw (not automatically a dangerous act, contrary to internet lore), the wood is fed toward the teeth which are spinning toward the wood--exactly like with a table saw. The splitter is the last thing encountered by the wood in the whole operation.
I'm surprised no one caught this, or I have it wrong.
--
LRod

Master Woodbutcher and seasoned termite
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Sounds like he is talking about setting the saw head up for either a in rip or out rip It can be turned either way, I'd guess he set it so it was turned so the splitter and blade was to the outside of the cut (toward the operator looking at the motor,) versus toward the fence side CC.
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I don't think he meant "the splitter" at all. I think he meant the anti kickback device.
I once mentioned to a friend that I use my RAS for ripping a lot and he turned white from fear, then told of his near death experience with one. When I mentioned how I set up the anti-kickback device, he had never heard of such a thing. No wonder people are afraid of the RAS.
Pete Stanaitis ----------------------------------
CC wrote:

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wrote:

You may be right. It's from such misstatements that internet lore is born.

I've actually seen accounts regarding the so called "scary ripping" wherein the the writer described feeding the stock in the same direction the blade was spinning (instead of against the spin). It's no surprise he had a bad result, and I have been convinced for a long time that the hoary chestnut that a RAS is unsafe for ripping had its genesis in such a tale.
I guess I'm lucky. I bought and learned to use a RAS in 1972 and used it often for lots of projects for nearly 20 years before the internet came along with scary people all over the place telling me how scary my tool was. Never occured to me. Not the way I learned to use it.
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LRod

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"LRod" wrote

Same here. I have built countless projects on a radial arm saw for many years. When I grew up, they were everywhere. I even knew a couple of guys who built special trailers for them for the construction guys. Every home construction site had a radial arm saw set up for cutting boards on site.
I built lots of rustic furniture and bookshelves out of construction grade lumber, just because it was all I could afford at the time. Much of that stuff is still going strong, 30 years later. And it is much stronger and more durable than crap built with politically correct woodworking machinery.
And lo and behold, I was reading the internet one day when I learned that millions of limbs and lives have lost to roving gangs of radial arms saws terrorizing the land! I entirely missed that one. I often wondered what kind of drugs these internet gossip hounds must of been on.
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Lee Michaels wrote:

Yep...an inexpensive second-hand B&D was the first stationary tool I bought after uni days. For several years it remained the only and was used for absolutely everything from edge jointing and surfacing to shaping and sanding.
Eventually I got the jointer, planer, shaper, table and band saws, etc., etc., etc., but that old RAS was the workhorse for quite a while and built many projects from framing to my then stock-in-trade custom work extra cash pieces of cedar and blanket chests.
I still have it although it is now little more than a momento as it was superceded years ago w/ it's (much) bigger brother...
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LRod wrote: ...

...
Ditto, a few years earlier...
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wrote:

I don't have a radial arm saw, but a table saw is the better choice for ripping. Probably safer too.
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TS w/Good Out feed support and a feather board in place. Check to see the bow on the 2-by and put the "high side" against the fence so the blade will be on the "inside" of even the slightest bow.Yes, ths is what I'm "used to" and, no, my RAS is not yet setup in is ten foot table. But I bet its easier and safer to secure the material as indicated and push it through from the end than to lean over the RAS table and try and slide it with the resistance of all that contact with the table and the setup for the RAS is more complex than raisng the TS blade and setting the fence and feather board.
Now, you never said much about junior's expeience. Maybe he's a framing guy or in the furnirure business and has a better shop then you and, despite the difference in years, more experience in these things. If so, defer by all means - but let him make the cut!
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Hoosierpopi wrote: ...

It's a tubafor, for heaven's sakes!!! How much resistance is there and why is there any significant amount less for the table saw with an adequate outfeed table?
The difference in setting the table saw fence and the radial head for a rip cut is trivially small as well.
Ripping is one of the primary reasons the RAS is set up in the long table and there's simply not that far to reach that there's any significant difference there, either. In fact, w/ my setup of an extended fence, initial feeding is much safer for a long piece than any typical setup I've ever seen for a table saw as there's both infeed and outfeed support--rarely is there infeed support on a TS as then one _does_ have a reach problem to reach over that support to get the end of the material past the blade.
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I own a good tablesaw and I own a radial arm. I wouldn't consider either one for cutting a 2x4 over 4 or 5 feet long. It is a job for a hand held circular saw.
If I had to use one of the stationary tools, I would use the tablesaw. I do have a 6' fall off table.
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Not to be a wiseguy, but I would use the bandsaw. Don't know if you have one, but ripping construction lumber with all of its quirks gives me the willies.
jc

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If I owned both, it would never occur to me to use the radial arm saw. The principal reason would be that the blade of the RAS is above the table, and thereby is in position to cut my arm off. All a table saw can do is cut my fingers off; hence it is safer.
Jim
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